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What happens when over 150 people meet beneath the Tower Bridge with cameras in hand and Temple Coffee in the other? Don’t be alarmed: You’re probably just at an Instameet, the most epic  photography event in your community. And when you find yourself climbing a tree or staring out into the sunrise because a few photographers asked you to, then you know it’s the real deal.

20150331_Instameet

On the weekend of March 21 and 22, 2015, all kinds of Instagrammers participated in the World Wide Instameet 11. Instameets are planned to connect local creatives and help people build community, explore, and share their art with the world by using the official hashtag #WWIM11 (and locally via #WWIM11Sac).

There were quite a few meets going on in the Sacramento area during the WWIM11 weekend. I went to the one that started at 7:00 am on a Saturday. Some called it crazy; I called it worth it, especially when it involves a beautiful sunrise and doubled as a fundraiser for Charity Water. (The free Temple Coffee and Bakers Donuts helped too!) This particular meet was hosted by Faith Mari, Dinelia Noel, Society Church, and City Scout Sac, all ‘grammers and organizations that I definitely fangirl over.

In this safe place, everyone is celebrated as a story waiting to be told. Everyone brings something valuable to the table.  It’s humbling to connect with world travelers, adventure enthusiasts, hand-letterers, baristas, designers, musicians, and bloggers (just to name a few), all in one place because we have a shared love of creativity. Better yet, how awesome to see things from someone else’s perspective. I mean, how can the guy next to me make his coffee cup look like a superhero, while I made mine look like… a coffee cup? It’s pretty inspiring, to say the least.

It’s no secret that I’m an Instagram enthusiast and tech-lover for life. But when we separate likes and followers from our humanity, we’re able to really meet a person face-to-face (no clicking required) and look them in the eyes when we speak the words from our heart (rather than sending them ten of my favorite heart-eyes emojis). It’s the little connections we make in these meets that turn the bigger picture into something grand for our lives.

For updates on upcoming Instameets, be sure to follow Visit Sacramento. Come find me at the next one, I’d love to say hi! Photographers of all levels and ages are welcome and encouraged to come.

Jayla Lee is an Assistant Account Coordinator at Appency, and loves grammin’ about her adventures. (Does the Farmers’ Market count?)


We've had a lot of people lately coming to us and asking how to get their iPhone app reviewed by the various iPhone blog sites around the net. While there is no guaranteed method, ( 148apps told us they get over 400 requests to review per week – there is simply no way they can get to all of them) we sat down with SlapApp.com's Co-Founder  Ryan Johnson this weekend and he gave us a few pointers. 


1. Read and understand the blogs preferred method of communication. Each blog has a different process, some bloggers have an email address to send submissions to, while others use a web form on their site. Just because you were able to track down the email address of every writer that contributes to their site, doesn't mean they would all welcome an out-of-the-blue email that goes outside their normal submission process and clogs up their professional email boxes. Ryan Johnson, SlapApp Co-Founder

2. Don't force them to do time wasting research. Simply submitting and saying "hey, can you review app X" is a sure fire way to not get reviewed. At the very least you need to provide:

  • App Name
  • Company Name
  • App Category
  • A brief overview of your app including highlights (what makes it special?)
  • Direct link to app

3. Spice it up with some media. You will hardly ever see an app reviewed without an image, video, etc. to catch the readers eye. Pulling those images and making those videos for those that do it themselves is a time consuming process. Make it easy for them! Include your screen shots, videos, promo art, icons, etc with your submission. Do NOT however send them as attached files unless specifically requested. Host your images on photobucket or one of the various other image hosting sites (Photoshop has an interesting new one) and send the link to the image. This goes for videos as well.  

4. This one may be obvious – but if its a paid app, provide a promotional code. On the same note – if you are a blogger yourself and are reading this – when a developer provides you with a promotional code, if you do not think you are going to review the app, be so kind as to send the code back to the developer unused.

5. Stick to the theme of the site. Some sites like Touch Arcade have very specific focuses (Touch Arcade is specifically for games). It is a waste of your time as well as the bloggers time to et submissions that do not fit with the site in question.


6. Additional information that may help getting your app reviewed:

  • Current Rank / Highest Rank Achieved (Most bloggers generate revenue as a iTunes affiliate, they want to promote apps that sell)
  • Date of Release
  • Notable mentions in other media (and links to them – bloggers love to cross link, it helps their SEO)

7. Getting close to launching a brand new app that has never been seen before? Offer a blogger an exclusive "first look" at the application. Bloggers are like other news reporters in that they like to be the first to a story. Dangling the "exclusive" carrot can catch a writers eye like nothing else can.

SO YOU GOT REVIEWED: NOW WHAT?

Congratulations! You got your app reviewed! What to do now? A couple basic things:

1. Mention the review in your app description. It's good for you (assuming it was a positive review), and its good for the review site.

2. Share the review link as much as possible. If your apps direct a lot of traffic to a blogger, the blogger may remember this in the future and be more inclined to blog about your next release.

3. Thank the reviewer. Common courtesy goes a long way these days. A good review can take 30 minutes to an hour of the writers time, if not more. Time spent on your application. Show them you appreciate it.

SO YOU DIDN'T GET REVIEWED: NOW WHAT?

Not every app will get reviewed by every site. Often times the blog wont even contact you to let you know, they simply wont do anything with it. Don't get disheartened, but ask yourself why. Is your app a purple cow? That is – is your app remarkable in any way, shape or form, or is it one of a dozen apps just like it that are already littering up the app store. As I mentioned before – blog reviews are a type of news… so make apps that are newsworthy.

A Special Thanks:

SlapAppLogo

A special thanks to Ryan and the rest of the SlapApp.com team for providing this interview. For help getting your app reviewed by bloggers, mentioned in the press, or just talked about in general… drop us an email, we would be glad to help!


 

In our last article, we talk about Schiau studios and their use of publicity stunts to gain promotion for their app and generate sales. There’s an old adage in PR that says "any press is good press".

Or is it?

Take Pepsi for example. Pepsi’s energy drink Amp takes an approach to marketing that is reminiscent  of Axe Deodorant in its hayday. Targeted primarily to men, er, "guys", their marketing message is full of extreme sports, hot girls, and rock music. The target demographic that this appeals to is a younger male audience, mid teens to early 20’s still living in a hormone driven haze where "hooking up" with the opposite sex ranks high on their daily priority list.

Is that a guy wtih a wig?

Um… is that one on the right a  guy with a wig on?

Enter the iPhone.

As the newest and if I might say, sexiest way to get your brand message out these days, it’s no surprise that Pepsi and Amp decided to jump on the bandwagon and launch an app of their own.  Grab the creative agency, brainstorm around the table for a few hours while hyped up on their own product, and the "Amp Up Before You Score" app is born.

The Premise: an app to help you hook up, complete with pickup lines and a how-to guide.

The Execution: Not only did Pepsi create an app that asks you to sterotype women into one of 24 categories including but not limited to "Cougar", "Princess" and, um… "Married" (lets hear it for Pepsi family values… I’d like to also mention that PepsiCo’s mission statement includes the following line: "in everything we do, we strive for honesty, fairness and integrity.").  The app then gives you a handy way to keep track of all the women you have ‘scored’ with and finally, my favorite… a way to brag about it to your buddies. In fact – the social mavens that they are – you can brag about it via Twitter, Facebook or Email! Now the whole world can know how misogynist you really are.

While I disagree with the execution – I understand that they are trying to speak to a very specific target that will frankly get the albiet misguided humor in this. The problem comes when we look at the target they are trying to reach, and the demographics of the typical iPhone user. They started out right – 75% of iPhone users are male, however according to Neilson, only 13% of users fall into Amp’s prime target age of 18-24. You can boost the percentage to 18% if you drop the age as low as 13. Add to that a society that is highly charged with conservative religous values, and you have a PR disaster on your hands. 

Calls have been coming in from all sides that Pepsi should pull what is being called "offensive", "sexist" and

Amp’s twitter site on October 12th posted this appology: "Our app tried 2 show the humorous lengths guys go 2 pick up women. We apologize if it’s in bad taste & appreciate your feedback. #pepsifail"

Love it or hate it....

 

The creation of this hashtag on Twiter has created a forum for tweeters to sound off about the app – both in the positive and the negative…. and it seems like consumers either love it or hate it.

So lets hear it readers – #pepsifail or #pepsiwin? IS all press good press or do brands have a social responseibility to live up to? Do you think this was created purposefully to stir up controversy?

I would have to say it was on purpose. Why? Because the app is still live in the app store. Who apologizes in earnest and then keeps doing what they were apologizing for?


WARNING: This is not a posting about iPhone Apps… its about digital media, contests, websites and… my son.

While I may be biased, I think my son has serious child model potential (don’t all parents?). When something like GAP’s Casting Call contest comes around (In conjunction with Disney Family), that allows parents to submit their kids to be the next GAP Kids model, I’m all over it. I figure… with a dad that’s a professional marketer… he just might have an edge.

Submitting Ethan was pretty straight forward. I expect when submitting a photo of a child online that will be posted to the world that there will be a number of forms to fill out, sign in blood, etc etc. No surprises here.

The GAP Casting Call contest however has a component that is the “Fan Favorite” competition – that is a voting contest where anyone coming to the site can vote for their favorites to help them advance. The prizes are pretty impressive (Fan Favorite gets a trip to Jamaica) and the competition is steep. Being that my son is seven years old, and a boy – I’ve resolved myself to the fact that it is very unlikely that he will win the overall fan favorite contest. That spot is traditionally held for baby girls with blond curls and dimples.

So why get votes? My thought is this: If Ethan gets the most (or even top 10) votes in his category, the judges will pay more attention to him when it comes to the judged component of the contest where he DOES have a chance to win. So – like any good marketer father, I start to post the link to all of my friends, relatives, business associates, neighbors, former high school girlfriends, second aunt of former high school girlfriends cousin…. well you get the picture.
It was only then I realized how convoluted the site is for people who are only trying to vote, and not trying to submit their own children.

Ethan K: Contestant ID: 49659097

Ethan K: Contestant ID: 49659097

If you click on the link (http://family.go.com/gapcastingcall/entries/ucshandiego/49659097/) it will take you to the lovely photo of my son taken by family friend Reza Molavi that has a button on the bottom that says “vote”.

Naturally – your first inclination when you see this handsome man is to hit vote, right?

WRONG

If you hit vote. Your vote will not be counted.

You have to register first – and while the site takes you to a new page that has a login / register – it doesn’t tell you that the “vote” you just submitted didn’t actually happen. For those of you who have had enough coffee to realize this, you are now taken to the same registration page that contestants have to go through. Trust me… its lengthy.

“Disney made me certify that I read all 17 sections of the Terms of Use contained in the box above and agree with all of their terms. I am very concerned that I report to Miley Cyrus now.” – Jeff Foster, CEO, Foster Redmond

Once you register, you then have to find the child you were going to vote for. Since most of the people voting will know the child.. it makes sense that people would search for the childs name.

WRONG AGAIN

You have to search for the child’s number (Ethan’s is 49659097) or the parents nickname (Ethan’s mom submitted him, using he nickname UCShanDiego). No one of course is going to know this but you my faithful reader.

Once you have found him, (look familiar, its the same page you saw the first time you followed the link..) you can then click the same vote button you tried to click the first time. This time.. the vote should work. You’ll know because it thanks you and lets you know you can vote again tomorrow.

And please do….

Ethan REALLY REALLY want’s to go to NYC. It’s one of his dreams. Last month he actually packed a suitcase and almost made it out the door before we stopped him. Don’t think he quite realized how far away it was. So please, if you have enjoyed this blog, or any of my other posts, do me a favor and vote for my little man!

Okay.. back to iPhone marketing.